Glasgow School of Art graduate wins Turner prize

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor presents Duncan Campbell with this year's Turner Prize. Picture: PA

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor presents Duncan Campbell with this year's Turner Prize. Picture: PA

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GLASGOW-based artist Duncan Campbell was last night named winner of this year’s Turner Prize.

Campbell, who was the bookies favourite, won for his video piece, It For Others. The work reflects on African art and ­includes a dance sequence ­inspired by Karl Marx.

A still from It for Others by Duncan Campbell. Picture: PA

A still from It for Others by Duncan Campbell. Picture: PA

The jury described it as “an ambitious and complex film which rewards repeated viewing”.

Campbell, 42, is the fourth graduate from Glasgow School of Art’s Master of Fine Art ­Programme to win the prize in the last ten years.

Twelve Years A Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor presented the £25,000 prize to Dublin-born Campbell in a ceremony at ­London’s Tate Britain.

The artist said: “This money will make a huge difference to me, even being nominated for the prize has given me great heart”.

Campbell’s win cements the domination of the Glasgow School of Art over the contemporary arts scene and will be a further boost to its reputation in a year when fire tore through its iconic Mackintosh building.

The blaze in the Grade A-listed building in May led to the loss of about one tenth of its structure and one third of its contents, causing shock around the city and the art world.

Last night, the school’s director, Professor Tom Inns, said: “This is a great accolade both for Duncan and for the Glasgow School of Art. Duncan becomes our fifth winner of this prestigious award since 1996 and the fourth graduate of our Master of Fine Art programme to win since 2005.

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“Duncan and all the previous GSA winners and shortlisted ­artists are a great inspiration to the current generation of ­students and the wider visual art community here in Glasgow.”

Campbell’s work takes in ­African art and images from the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

It was part of Scotland’s entry in last year’s Venice Biennale and referenced a 1953 film essay about historical African art and colonialism, Statues Also Die, by Chris Marker and Alan Resnais.The artist said that his work was the examination of values and how they change.

The jury said that they admired Campbell’s “exceptional dedication to making a work which speaks about the construction of value and meaning in ways that are topical and compelling”.

The artist was shortlisted along with James Richards, Ciara Phillips and Tris Vonna-Michell, the latter two of whom also studied at Glasgow School of Art.

Glasgow-based Phillips had been nominated for turning London’s The Showroom gallery into a print workshop, inviting designers, artists and local women’s groups to make prints with her.

She works with all kinds of prints – from screenprints and textiles to photos and wall paintings.

Phillips often works ­collaboratively, transforming the gallery into a workshop and ­involving other artists, designers and local community groups.

Now in its 30th year, the Turner Prize is one of the most high profile and often controversial events in the British arts ­calender.

Some of its most famous – or, to sections of the public and press, infamous – winners ­include Damien Hirst’s The Physical ­Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (a shark in formaldehyde) and My Bed, a dishevelled bed by Tracey Emin.

However, ­critics ­attacked the shortlist as being obscure, while one lambasted it as “the worst in its history” and that the prize should not be awarded at all.

For most nominated artists, it is the first time they become known to the general public.

Work by this year’s winner and nominees are on display at Tate Britain until 4 January.

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